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The Butler film still
Kam Williams
Published: 23 December 2013

The African-American Film Critics Association has named 12 Years a Slave as the Best Picture of 2013.  The Fox Searchlight film’s also earned Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Newcomer honors for Steve McQueen, John Ridley and Lupita Nyong'o. The organization, which represents the leading African-American film critics nationwide, will formally present its awards during a private ceremony on Friday, January 31, 2014 hosted by Orlando Jones at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA. 

In the acting categories, Forest Whitaker won Best Actor for his performance in Lee Daniels: The Butler and Sandra Bullock was named Best Actress for Gravity. Oprah Winfrey received Best Supporting Actress 2013 for her role in The Butler and Jared Leto earned Best Supporting Actor 2013 for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club.

Rounding out the 2013 AAFCA Award winners are Fruitvale Station, for Best Independent Film, Freeze or Best Animated Feature; Mother of George, for Best World Cinema and American Promise, from Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson.  Producer Raphael Saadiq won in the Best Music category for Black Nativity.

The critics’ Special Achievement honors will be awarded to Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences; Bob and Harvey Weinstein, of Time Warner Cable; Zola Mashariki, of Fox Searchlight, which produced 12 Years a Slave; and Paris Barclay, president of the Directors’ Guild of America. The inaugural Roger Ebert Award went to Justin Chang of Variety.

“The film industry reached an incredibly high benchmark in 2013 in terms of the level of performance and diversity on screen,” says AAFCA President and Founder, Gil Robertson.

“From the dramatic and heartwarming performances given by Whitaker and Winfrey, to Jared Leto’s incredible transformation as a transgender, the performances this year represented some of the finest examples of the acting craft.”   

The organization’s Top Ten list of films includes 12 Years a Slave, Lee Daniels: The Butler, Gravity, American Hustle and Mandela.  “Hollywood did an excellent job in providing filmgoers with excellent examples of cinema that examine the core of the humanity. We hope this trend continues,” says AAFCA’s East Coast V.P. Daryle Lockhart, owner of Black Box Office.com.

The African-American Film Critics Association’s Top Ten Films of 2013 are as follows in order of distinction:

1. 12 Years a Slave

2. Lee Daniels: The Butler

3. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

4. American Hustle

5. Gravity

6. Fruitvale Station

7.  Dallas Buyers Club

8. Saving Mr. Banks

9. Out of the Furnace

10. 42

Best Actor                               Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels: The Butler (TWC)

Best Actress                            Sandra Bullock, Gravity (Warner Bros.)

Best Supporting Actress         Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels: The Butler (TWC)

Best Supporting Actor            Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)

Best World Cinema                Mother of George (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

Breakout Performance            Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight)

Best Director                           Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight)

Best Screenplay                      John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight)

Best Music                              Raphael Sadiq, Black Nativity (RCA Inspirational)

Best Independent Film           Fruitvale Station (TWC)

Best Animation                       Frozen (Walt Disney Pictures)

Best Documentary                  American Promise (Rada Film Group)

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